A webring for non-commercial personal pages be they static homepages or blogs or non-commercial directories that list the 1995 – 2005 style Web pages. No hate, no resumes, no third party advertising.
You are invited to join if you have a qualifying site, because the ring is new so it’s kind of lonely here. *cricket* *cricket* 🙂 See link above.
After a number of false starts a few years ago, I finally made a functioning webring. Another thing I can cross off my bucket list. And it comes at a good time because I’ve been surfing other webrings and having a great time doing it, which started the itch to build one back up.
“Site Promotion” is an old term from the 1990’s Web for getting your website listed in as many search engines and directories as possible so that no matter where a person was searching, they ran across your website. Back then there were a lot of search engines and directories, both large and small and you had to submit your website’s URL in order to be listed.
Who is This For?
This is basically a URL submission guide to promote your website to a wider audience. It is intended only for non-commercial, personal HTML type sites. Think Neocites type sites and the like and you would be right. It is NOT intended for submitting blogs, those need to be submitted to different resources. See the guide for blogs.
I have purposely omitted directories that require you to pay a fee when you submit your site for inclusion.
If you have a Neocities site this guide is intended for site promotion in addition to whatever is provided or is customary among Neocities sites. So, first do what webmasters normally do within the Neocities community and then do this guide. You may already know about these lisitng places but beginners might not so you can pass this along to them.
(All links open in a new tab.)
The Big Search Engines
There are only 4 large English language search engines that have their own crawler and index. Google, Bing, Yandex and Mojeek. You cannot submit to them, there is nothing for you to do. But rest assured, they will eventually find you by following links to you from other websites and then crawl your website.
Search Engines for Non-Commercial Sites
(Check to see if you are already listed.)
Wiby.me – this search engine was built to index HTML type websites. They need you to submit your URL. They will then crawl your site.
Searchmysite.net – for non-commercial sites. They do not crawl the web the way the big search engines do. The only way they will find you is if you submit your site.
Small Search Engines
I’d never heard of these but they have “Add URL” so go ahead and submit if you want.
Bloopish – new to me. Free submit so might as well.
(These smaller directories all require a link back to them before you submit and you have to stay linked to them to remain in the directory. See each directory for submission and linking instructions.)
Webring Directory – browse through the webrings, visit, and pick those that you like, seem well managed and that you qualify for and apply. Follow the webring’s rules. Join 3 – 4. Webrings bring traffic.
Resources listed in this guide should not be considered an endorsement.
I have not listed resources that charge a fee for listing, no matter how small.
If you know of a resource that should be included, please let me know in a comment below. No promises though.
If your resource is listed and you would like it removed, please let me know in a comment.
Do Not use this guide for submitting blogs. I will be making a separate guide for blogs.
Do Not Spam these indexes. Submit once and wait to see if you are accepted or rejected. It may take weeks
The directories listed are human reviewed. They each have different standards. Submitting does not guarantee inclusion.
What if you combined a webring with a blogroll (or linkroll?)
We need to define an important difference between the two:
Webring: the site webmaster must ask to join a webring and place a special ringcode on his website.
Blogroll is a list of websites compiled by one person. The sites listed have not requested to be included as they would with a webring.
What if you could combine aspects of the two?
What if you had a script that let you create lists of websites, navigate through the list – going to each site (actually “around” the list because once you reached the end you would start over at the beginning)? The navigation would be handled by a narrow Frame which would which would have links to Previous, Next, Random and Index, plus a link to remove the frame and drop out of the ring if you found a website you really wanted to explore in depth.
Anyone could create a “ring,” subject to moderation. This means anyone can create and curate collections of related links without running their own server or paying for hosting.
Rings, once approved, would appear in a directory of rings.
Webmasters could apply to join an existing ring and have the option of placing a link to the ring on their website.
People creating rings do not have to wait for webmasters to apply for ring membership.
The ability to Navigate around the sites listed in the ring makes it different than just a blogroll or linkroll.
Huh? Wait a minute, This sounds familiar.
None of what I just described is new, if you are old enough you will remember that what I just described is how Bomis and Bomis Rings worked! See Bomis on Archive.org.
Bomis and it’s directory of rings (the directory built on top of a copy of Dmoz.org) was intended to be a sort of crowd sourced directory for navigating the web in a manner similar to the indexes of rings at the traditional webring hosts (see the directory of rings on Webringo as an example.)
Bomis had the advantage of speed vs. traditional webrings. You could make a Bomis Ring almost as fast as it took to create a blogroll. You did not have to wait for webmasters to apply to join, place a ringcode etc. Bomis was about just doing it. Not waiting for permission. Collect your links and then share them with the world in a fun to navigate fashion.
Some webmasters may object to their website being shown in a frame. This area is a bit fuzzy. Opt-in webrings like Webringo (above) have frames as one ringcode option – but again they are opt-in and the webmaster has to place the JS code on their own site. Discovery services like Stumbleupon used browser toolbars but may have also used frames but I don’t remember.
Bomis style was very plain compared to the flashy HTML webrings of old.
Because most sites are added by the ring owner, the sites do not have a link back to the ring so they cannot feed traffic back to the ring.
Anyway, is anything I wrote not clear? We are not talking about a commercial for profit enterprise, but would it work today? I wish somebody would code it up because I think it would be useful today.
I can tell when I add a genuine Old 1990’s website to the Indieseek.xyz directory. See, when I’m adding a URL the directory script tries to fetch the Title tag and the Description meta tag. If it actually shows me a filled in Description, then odds are the website is Real Old.
So fair warning, I’m writing this for a selfish purpose because a well written Description meta tag saves me a lot of time trying to write a directory description of what your page is about.
This post is primarily for personal static websites like those being built at Neocities.
The big search engines pretty much quit using the Description meta long ago, so everybody lost interest and soon forgot about the practice. After all is was from the early days of Web 1.0, it didn’t fit in with the corporate advertising platform of Web 2.0. Well, we are building a retro web revival so screw the Big Tech search engine silos. I don’t care what they use or don’t use.
Who Should Use a Description Meta Tag?
Personal static HTML sites, like Neocities sites, especially on pages that have little or no text on them, like a blank welcome/doorway/splash page. The big search engines might still ignore it but new small search engines devoted to HTML sites are being developed now and they might take description metas into account. And, of course, many directory scripts like mine look for Description metas when adding non-submitted URL’s.
Personal blogs. You know better what broad subject themes you constantly blog about better than any directory editor will be able to figure out in a 3 minute review.
This becomes more important for the future because more directories are being built and more niche HTML site search engines are being developed that might use them.
Like I say, it’s a shameless self serving suggestion on my part, but I think it has some merit for the use cases above.
Curlie.org the successor to the old defunct Dmoz Directory (aka Open Directory Project or ODP) has come out of hibernation and is ready to be used by you and me. They are even accepting URL submissions and editor applications. It looks like a lot of the old dead wood listings have been cleared out and new listings added in the categories. And the whole site is usable and tidy. With over 3 million sites listed Curlie is the largest human edited directory of the Web.
See, Dmoz/ODP was created as a legitimate aid for the navigation of the Web, back before search engines got good. It never sold listings for the sake of link popularity with the search engines so it is of much higher quality than the thousands of later directories that were built with the express purpose of charging a fee for links in order to get better search engine rankings. This makes Dmoz/ODP and now Curlie stand above the rest.
They Were Quiet
When AOL decided to shut down Dmoz a group of editors decided to use one of the last open source Dmoz data bundles and try to carry on with the Dmoz mission as a human edited directory. Thus Curlie was born in 2017 as a successor to Dmoz. Curlie was available but seemed dormant, you could not submit sites and there were a lot of dead listings. But the editors were busy, getting rid of dead links and adding new ones over a few years. This had to be a very big effort.
Now they are once again open and ready to be searched and browsed. Browsing Curlie is fun, I suggest you explore.
I’ve said this before, big directories cannot compete with search engines. But human edited directories can discern quality, something that search engines still cannot do. So there is still a place for them and I’m very glad that my favorite of all the really big directories has survived.
I recently had to post a bio of me online and the web directories I’ve built. While writing it I remembered I’d done this before on my personal blog. I pretty much stuck with science fiction, fantasy and horror with a specialized Lord of the Rings directory added in and a spy/espionage fiction directory thrown in for something different.
FLASH, I’ve been carping about the Web needing more webring hosts for awhile, only to discover a new small startup webring host webri.ng on Hacker News discussion. This is definitely a good step for the Web Revival.
Webri.ng is fairly basic, it does not have all the features of the big legacy hosts like Webringo. But it has enough to create and run a ring.
Why is a Webring Host Important?
Just to be clear: I’m not knocking the various new scripts for creating single webrings. I think they are important for those who know how to use them. They also have the advantage of being decentralized. But I think the web revival needs both homebrew webrings and third party remote hosts to really get webrings back in the public eye and popular.
I hope you give webri.ng a lookover for your next ring.
[[wikilinks]] and #hashtags could act as snippets for custom searches on various platforms. I’d like to be able to either click on a link or possibly right click and be presented with the ability to search that term (or nearby terms) on a variety of different platforms or trusted websites.
I like this idea a lot and I am still sorting the implications which could be revolutionary if this can be done. This could be huge.
Random thoughts from the top of my head:
This could be a big boost for non- Big Tech search engines, niche search engines like Marginalia Search, Indieweb Search, and various web directories. Plus, as mentioned, wikis like Indieweb.org. I always have the notion that we are underutilizing both web search and site search on the web.
It strikes me that having this as a browser extension is on the right track although it might be easier to make this platform specific like plugins for WordPress.
“downsides and social ills” Right now I can’t think of any but they will exist because this is the Internet and anything that can be exploited will be exploited.
Searching one specified off-site source with a wikilink may not be too hard but trying to do a meta search of several sources could be very difficult unless each source searched opens in a new tab.
The UI will be tricky. If you want wide spread adoption then it needs to be simple. Even DDG’s !bangs are a bit too complicated for mass use.
Anyway it sounds like something to be discussed, thought about and experimented with.
I started this directory in 2018. Human edited directories were dead. There were a few around but not a lot. Discovery was all about search engines, namely Google and Bing, to the exclusion of everybody else. Webrings were dead, blogrolls had fallen out of favor, ditto RSS. It seemed like everything had gone commercial and all corporate suit slick and tricky and that maybe the fun part of the Web had died.
But there were pockets of webmasters building a web revival. Webmasters at Neocities, bloggers at Indieweb.org were not willing to give ground and let Web 1.0 die out. They started reviving old practices like using RSS, blogrolls, static sites – the fun stuff.
But we lost a lot of Web 1.0. A lot of the infrastructure built to support the independent web 1.0 had fallen into ruin or was just gone. We need to replace the best of this Web 1.0 infrastructure to continue.
Things have changed, mainly for the better, since 2018 so I thought I would give you my opinion on where we stand now in 2022.
Directories – This has been a pleasant surprise. While directories never quite died off, since 2018 quite a few new small directories have been built. I think Kicks Condor got people thinking about small directories again. On the big directory front Curlie has refreshed itself and come alive. The thing is, we need more. Directories come in so many styles, sizes, each with different features, categories, niches and collections of links. Some are geographical, some are topical, some are general and some are personal collections of cool links so there is no limit to how many directories there can be. For individuals who want to start a directory I recommend you find a niche that is under served. The best directory niche I see right now is for the non-commercial retro static html type sites. (Example.) The second niche would be a directory for non-commercial personal blogs. Or you can do a bit of both. (Example.)
Search Engines – Actually, great progress has been made on the search engine front. For the Slow Web we have Wiby.me, Marginalia and Searchmysite. On the privacy search engine front we have Mojeek, Brave Search, each with their own index gaining ground. Gigablast seems to have improved their algo and expanded their index. And other search engines with their own indexes are going through beta testing.
Blog Hosts – free and low cost blog hosting is an important part of the underlying infrastructure of the independent web. Unfortunately, we have sort of a mixed bag to report. The Negatives: WordPress.com and Blogger used to be the free gateway sites for those wanting to start a personal blog. The first seems to be focusing on expensive premium addons while limiting the free service. The latter has stagnated and nobody is really sure if Google will continue the Blogger service which puts a damper on using them. The price of domains and full WordPress script self hosting have risen a lot over the last few years which creates a bar to entry. The Positives: There is some good news in that quite a few new blog hosting platforms have started up, Micro.blog and others come to mind, and are helping to fill the gap.
Blogrolls and Link pages – Bloggers and retro webmasters have really stepped up on this front. Bloggers are once again creating blogrolls, a practice that many had abandoned. The resurgent surf-the-web movement among retro/yesterweb static site webmasters means nearly every personal homepage has a links page in addition to linked buttons to their friends homepages. It’s a fantastic thing.
RSS – just a few years ago RSS seemed dead. Even many bloggers has turned off their RSS feeds and feed reading software and services were slowly dying. Yet RSS is a way to by-pass the search engine duopoly of Google and Bing. But something has happened. RSS is making a slow comeback along with the underlying infrastructure. Even Neocities lets webmasters put an RSS feed on static websites somehow. Anyway, both webmasters and users are rediscovering RSS which is a good thing.
Static Hosting – Neocities, Neocities, Neocities. Neocities is really where the action is for hosting static sites for free or freemium. They offer a lot without ads and have created a community of webmasters. I’m not sure what the retroweb would do without them. We could use a few more hosts like them just so we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. I found little Vistaserv.net which sort of helps. If you know of others please tell me in the comments below.
Static Websites – (see Static Hosting above). This is going good and growing. To me it seems like an explosion of static sites but the reality is this has been growing since the launch of Neocities in 2015.
Forums – Forums are sort of the original social networks of the Web. They were great because you could start a forum on almost any topic large or small. They were decentralized before decentralization was cool. Forums fell out of favor after Web 2.0 social networks like Twitter and Facebook started. Yet somehow, forums never quite died and just about anyone with a C-panel type hosting account can start one. I’m seeing a younger generation starting forums because forums lend themselves to long form posts better than many other platforms.
Hosted Tools – remotely hosted tools used to be everywhere back in the 1990’s when almost all personal websites were static. Things like guestbooks, reply forms were desired and provided by third parties. Most were “free” meaning ad supported and when Geocities died they started dying too. I recently went hunting for these and the news is not good. Some companies are still around but with reduced offerings. Some old hosts seem to be operating but have not been updated for years. Some seem to be offering a fairly modern product but those are very few. Not a lot of health in this part of the infrastructure.
Webrings – I’m delighted to say I was completely wrong when I said webrings would not make a comeback. They have. Lots of coders have come up with scripts on how to start your own webring. Mind you I’m not sure how easy it is to manage a webring using these scripts but new webrings serving the non-commercial web are coming along all the time. Martha, there really is a webring revival.
Webring Hosting – I’m talking about centralized hosts here. Webring is dead. Ringsuf is on life support and closed to new signups. Bravenet pulled the plug on webring hosting years ago. (I wish Bravenet would dust off the old scripts and and lead the revival and bring webrings back.) That leaves only Webringo. They are still around and still function but the Web could use some new blood in this sector. See the old webring hosts had a lot of tools behind the scenes, back in the Ringmaster’s admin panel, that really helped the Ringmaster manage the continuity of the webring (ie. checkers for ring codes, dead site checkers and an email system to contact individual members.) Because when you get 200 or more members in a webring it becomes a lot of work to manage. I’m not sure the various new individual scripts people are using have this sort of back-end management features. UPDATE 23 June 2022: There is a new webring host webri.ng. It’s new and a bit spartan but you can host a webring there.
Banner Exchanges – Dead. It’s a pity. My first commercial venture, prior to the burst of the First Web Bubble, was a niche Science Fiction and Fantasy banner exchange. In fact, I built my first niche web directory to help find members for that banner exchange. Oh well.
So am I right, wrong, way off and if so how? Also what did I miss? Leave a comment below to tell me about it.
So you want to start a new blog but you want to keep it simple and the costs low. Here are a couple of blog hosts that I’ve recently come across that let you spend more time writing and less time fussing with features. Both of these are text-forward blogs which means they are about blogging in words and not pictures, videos or audio.
Mataroa – I like this one the best of the two. 1. Free or $9 per year for Pro, 2. No ads, 3. No tracking, 4. Export anytime, 5. Option to export as ePub ebook, 6. Comments, 7. your own domain (Pro), more. What I’m not clear on is if you can make static pages. I don’t see it mentioned. I do like the export as ePub feature good for a journal or diary.
Bear Blog – this one is sort of a work in progress. Right now it’s free. Paid features are talked about but not listed. It does have pages which I consider important. Also has RSS, an email newsletter, discovery feed etc. Missing is an export feature although one is planned, but beware. Also no comments.